NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, May 11th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: New mask requirements, threats, lawsuits, and antibody tests

It’s time for anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and across the coun­try are work­ing to mit­i­gate.

Washington

Ear­li­er today, Seat­tle & King Coun­ty Health Offi­cer Dr. Jeff Duchin issued a pub­lic health direc­tive requir­ing every­one to wear face cov­er­ings indoors and out­doors when phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing is dif­fi­cult.

Metro will require the use of masks by oper­a­tors and rid­ers at all times. (Sound Tran­sit has not yet declared such a pol­i­cy, but if they do, it will like­ly be post­ed here.) This direc­tive will take effect on Mon­day, May 18th.

Peo­ple who have been com­plain­ing about busi­ness­es vio­lat­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, as a mea­sured relax­ation of the stay at home order is imple­ment­ed, have had their names and con­tact info pub­lished on Face­book, which in turn has result­ed in harass­ment and death threats against them.

One of these Face­book posts was cre­at­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Three Per­centers, which is one of an array of far right groups that, per the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, “advo­cate or adhere to extreme antigov­ern­ment doc­trines.”

This hap­pened in the midst of demon­stra­tions of approx­i­mate­ly 1,500 peo­ple in Olympia against Gov­er­nor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, which is less than the 2,000 to 2,500 that demon­strat­ed in Olympia last month.

Oregon

On Wednes­day, May 6th, ten church­es from across the state of Ore­gon and twen­ty-one indi­vid­u­als, made up of pas­tors, staff and con­gre­gants, filed a law­suit against Gov­er­nor Kate Brown’s State of Emer­gency order, declar­ing that it “at least implic­it­ly lim­its plain­tiffs’ free exer­cise of reli­gion,” which is pro­tect­ed by the First Amend­ment of the US con­sti­tu­tion and Arti­cle 1 of the Ore­gon Con­sti­tu­tion.

The suit was filed by the Pacif­ic Jus­tice Insti­tute, which the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter has declared is an anti-LGBT group that “…com­pared legal­ized gay mar­riage to Hitler and the Nazis’ ascent in Ger­many; endorsed so-called ‘repar­a­tive’ or sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion con­ver­sion ther­a­py; claimed mar­riage equal­i­ty would lead to legal polygamy and incest; fought against pro­tec­tions for trans chil­dren and fab­ri­cat­ed a sto­ry of harass­ment by a trans stu­dent; and said that LGBT His­to­ry Month pro­motes gay pornog­ra­phy to chil­dren.”

The next day, on May 7th, Elkhorn Bap­tist Church in Salem filed a motion for a tem­po­rary restrain­ing order against Gov­er­nor Kate Brown’s stay at home order, declar­ing that it infringes on their reli­gious free­dom to con­gre­gate.

Said Salem-based attor­ney Ray D. Hacke, who filed the tem­po­rary restrain­ing order Thurs­day: “If we’re risk­ing our lives to go to church, if we sur­vive, great… If we die, then we’re going to heav­en. If we want to take that risk, then it’s on us.” (This ignores the pos­si­bil­i­ty that church mem­bers may become asymp­to­matic and pass the nov­el coro­n­avirus to non-par­tic­i­pants in church ser­vices.)

The Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty on Sat­ur­day, May 9th, empha­sized pub­licly an FDA guid­ance issued on May 7th, revok­ing autho­riza­tion for more than six­ty-five of the eighty known man­u­fac­tur­ers of KN95 res­pi­ra­tors, cit­ing poor qual­i­ty, and remind­ing med­ical pro­fes­sion­als not use them in the per­for­mance of their duties. KN95 res­pi­ra­tors are made exclu­sive­ly in Chi­na, but are not required to be test­ed by NIOSH (Nation­al Insti­tute for Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health), as N95 res­pi­ra­tors must be to receive such a des­ig­na­tion.

This is the present list of approved res­pi­ra­tors by the FDA as of May 7th.

Idaho

A non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion, Crush the Curve, has been offer­ing free anti­body tests to assess, test and trace for peo­ple who have had COVID-19 or are asymp­to­matic.

So far, Crush the Curve has been pro­mot­ing the results of test­ing in east­ern Ida­ho, where it has declared a low num­ber of peo­ple that have had or do have the nov­el coro­n­avirus.

There has been con­tro­ver­sy regard­ing anti­body test­ing for this spe­cif­ic virus.

The qual­i­ty of many such tests is high­ly ques­tion­able, it doesn’t always catch ear­ly infec­tions in progress, and inter­pret­ing the results can require sub­tle­ty at a time when the White House and oth­er enti­ties want such tests to be a quick means of pro­vid­ing evi­dence that most peo­ple can go back to work.

The tests used via the Crush the Curve cam­paign are avail­able through the Virol­o­gy Depart­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, which in turn were made by Abbott Labs. While they appear to have a reli­ably high accu­ra­cy rate, and while the FDA grant­ed, on May 11th, an emer­gency use autho­riza­tion for the test, some con­tro­ver­sy exists regard­ing the avail­abil­i­ty of these tests in oth­er areas, such as in the state of Wash­ing­ton.

The hard, cold numbers

Wash­ing­ton state has had 17,890 cas­es and 953 attrib­ut­able deaths.

248,875 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ore­gon has had 3,286 cas­es and 130 attrib­ut­able deaths.

77,542 peo­ple have been test­ed.

Ida­ho has had 2,260 cas­es and 70 attrib­ut­able deaths.

31,961 peo­ple have been test­ed.

British Colum­bia has had 2,353 cas­es and 130 attrib­ut­able deaths.

111,498 peo­ple have been test­ed.

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One Comment

  1. This is still an active threat and mea­sures need to stay in place.

    # by Mike Barer :: May 12th, 2020 at 7:43 AM

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